The refuge was established in 1948 to provide habitat for migratory birds. It consists of uplands dominated by salt desert scrub and shallow marsh which varies from fresh water to salt water. The 81,322 acre refuge was designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society and as a site of hemispheric importance by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. The local Paiute tribe, known as the Toi-Ticutta or cattail eaters, have used resources from the marsh for thousands of years.
Everywas created for a special purpose. Some were created to protect migratory birds, others to protect threatened or endangered species or unique habitats, while others fulfill another special purpose. All activities allowed on refuges must be evaluated to make sure each activity will not conflict with the reason the refuge was founded. The purposes of the refuge are:
- Maintaining and restoring natural biological diversity.
- Providing for the conservation and management of fish and wildlife and their habitat.
- Fulfilling international treaty obligations of the United States with respect to fish and wildlife.
- Providing opportunities for scientific research, environmental education and fish and wildlife oriented recreation.
Nov. 26, 1948 – The refuge was established as the Stillwater Wildlife Management Area by the Tripartite Agreement between the Service, the Truckee Carson Irrigation District and the Nevada Wildlife Commission.
Nov. 9, 1990 – Public Law 101-618 transferred authority for managing the refuge from the Tripartite Agreement to the Refuge System Administration Act, defined the current refuge boundary, changed the name to Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge and identified the refuge purposes.
April 4, 2003 – The Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the refuge was completed.
Other Facilities in this Complex
Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge and Fallon National Wildlife Refuge are managed as part of the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge Complex.